What the hell is a pastizz? – What comes after telling people you’re Maltese

in Lifestyle/Travels

Malta? Where’s that, in Spain? Maltese? Isn’t that a dog breed? Haha, Maltesers.

Ladies and gentlemen, many must be altogether too familiar with the above – and more. The Maltese abroad – those who not only stock up on Twistees and Kinnie whenever they head back home, but also those who face a number of newly-found responsibilities, questions, and sudden realisations. I’ve been reflecting on what mine have been, and managed to come up with these.

We actually become ambassadors

Sans the perks. Sans the salary. Well or at least in my case. The Maltese abroad become ambassadors in the sense that usually you’re the only Maltese person people have met. You suddenly become aware that that same person will probably build their idea of a whole nation on the way you treat them and on the way you behave. With regards to the latter – sorry Malta.

People REALLY love Malta

I mean the ones that know of it. Gone are the days when it was only British couples who longed for their retirement in sunny Malta. I’ve met people who go insane whenever I tell them I’m Maltese. Some people speak so fondly of an island I’ve called home for more than 20 years, but that sounds almost like a foreign country when spoken of by someone who’s not Maltese.

What the hell is a pastizz?

I’ve never learnt so much about our foods and customs before I had to explain what a “pastizz” is, that some of us actually eat rabbits on a weekly basis, and that snails are well, a delicacy. We also eat carbs wrapped up in more carbs, drink what is probably the world’s most hated (or loved) soft drink, as well as the world’s best beer. I miss you Cisk, please cater for the gluten intolerants.

Mintoff and Havana

The ones that DO know of Malta can probably be split into two – those who know of Mintoff, and those that reminisce of their years of folly drunk at Havana or Footloose, or any other club in Paceville.

We truly are a unique people

And that includes both the best and the worst of our qualities. Sure, we might be a concoction of cultures and traditions, which is why we cannot just fit in easily in just one of these cultures we’ve inherited so much from. We’ll always be too warm, too cold, too talkative, too quiet when compared to others.

Remember your name? Yeah forget that

I’ve noticed this almost anywhere I went – people will or will not remember your name. Regardless, there is a high probability of this turning into Malta, Malteser, etc.

We realise we’re small, like really small

There is a high probability that the “someone I knew from Malta” is also “someone I know from Malta”.

“Miskin min ikasbarni, miskin min jidhak bija”

We’re all very willing to diss our own country, but god forbid a foreigner tries to do so in our presence. We suddenly vindicate Briffa’s famous words “Jien Maltija – miskin min ikasbarni, miskin min jidhak bija” (which roughly translates to ‘do not even dare diss my country pls tnx’)

Is there anything you’d add to the list? I’d love to know your experiences with being THE Malteser, the almost Italian but not quite, the one from the small island etc etc…

(Picture credit of this website. Also, I’m not stereotyping – I clearly stated these are based on a personal experience 😘)

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